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The Hungry Nomad: Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner Recipes

December 25, 2012

Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner Recipes

Ah Autumn. My favorite season. I love watching the descending leaves turn and twist in the air before falling to the ground. I love watching the leaves change color from a bright green to hues of yellows, oranges and reds. The air is fresh and crisp, the sun is shining making the colors glow in a magical way that only nature can do. Pumpkin based recipes fill menus all over the country from pumpkin pie to pumpkin spiced latte. Walking on dry leaves is one of my all time favorite fall time activities. I love listening to the leaves under my feet. Throwing myself into a pile of dried leaves...ready to be taken away and burned. Love the smell of burnt leaves and chimney fires. Most of all, I love thanksgiving and all that it symbolizes. Love gathering around with friends and family and feasting away. So here I am sharing just a few of my favorite thanksgiving recipes including: Turkey,Oven Baked Yam, Mushroom Gravy, Brussels Sprouts and Cranberry Sauce.

Prep time- 10 minutes Cook time- 4 hours

1 Turkey, approximately 15 lbs*
1 Lemon (juice)
Salt and Pepper
Melted Butter 
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
Sprigs of fresh rosemary
* If you need help deciding how big your turkey you should get here is the general rule: 
12-15 lbs turkey for 10-12 people
15-18 lbs turkey for 14-16 people
18-22 lbs for 20-22 people


1. If frozen turkey allow it enough time to thaw and bring to room temperature before cooking (I generally defrost overnight). Allow approximately 5-6 hours of defrosting for every pound. Do not remove plastic wrapping until you are ready to cook. 

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

3. Once you remove the plastic wrapping, remove the neck and giblets usually tucked inside the cavity. I use the giblets to make stock for the stuffing and giblet gravy. If the legs are tied check to see if you need to remove prior to cooking. If you remove then you will need to tie the legs together using string. 

4. Wash out the turkey and pat it dry. Spray the inside of the cavity with lemon juice and sprinkle the inside with a handful of salt. 

5. Optional step: Place stuffing inside the cavity (stuffing recipe below). Another option is to fill the inside with chopped onions, celery, carrots and parsley. Cap the outside with foil so that the filling does not spill out. Close up the cavity with a metal skewer and make sure once again that the turkey legs are tied together. 

6. Rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

7. Place turkey breast up on the bottom rack in heavy bottom metal/foil roasting pan. Add fresh sprigs of rosemary to the outside of the turkey. 

8. Place turkey in the oven. It is recommended that you cook 15 minutes for every pound. However, you will want to check the instructions that comes with your turkey. You will start cooking at 400 F for the first 30 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 F for the next 2 hours. Add two cups of water. Reducing to 225 F for the next hour until ready. Meanwhile every 15-20 minutes you will have to remove the juices from the roasting pan using a turkey baster. This is KEY to make the turkey juicy and tender and also one of the most arduous tasks. Remove the juices with the baster and spray all over the turkey. 

9. Using a meat thermometer, insert deep into the thickest part of the turkey breast- the turkey will be ready with the temperature reaches 160F for the breast and 170F for the thigh.

10. Once the turkey is removed, allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes prior to serving. 

Oven Baked Yam: 
Prep time 5 minutes Cook time- 30 minutes


2 Large Yams
1 tablespoon rosemary (crushed)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt/pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Wash yam thoroughly
3. Chop into round pieces about 3 inches
4. Mix the olive oil, rosemary and salt and pepper
5. Toss the yam in the oil mix. 
6. Place individual pieces of yam on a roasting pan. 
7. Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes on one side and turn over for 15 minutes on to the other side. 

My classic mushroom gravy: 
Prep and cook time: 20 minutes


1-2 cups of Turkey drippings
1 cup mushrooms
1/4 cup of corn starch
1 teaspoon salt/pepper


1. Wash and chop mushrooms diagonally
2. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil and cook mushrooms for 10 minutes
3. Separately, scrape the drippings off the bottom of the roasting pan and add along with the turkey juice into a small skillet. Ladle off excess fat with a spoon
4. In a separate bowl take a quarter cup of corn starch, add water to dissolve the corn starch. Beat cornstarch with a spoon to remove lumps. Add the corn starch slowly to the turkey mixture
5. Add mushrooms to the turkey mixture
6. Allow the cornstarch to thicken the gravy
7. Add any additional spices to taste

Cranberry Sauce: 
Cook time: 10 minutes

Cranberry sauce is not one of the easiest thanksgiving recipes but one of the most delicious. I hope after reading this you never ever turn to canned cranberry sauce again (although sometime the canned sauce tastes oh so good).


1 bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of orange juice
2/3 cup of brown sugar


1. Wash the cranberries. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. You will hear a popping sound. Don't worry that is the cranberries exploding. Stir the mixture every few minutes. 
2. You are done. Bring to room temperature and serve. 

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts:
Prep time- 5 minutes Cook time- 30 minutes


1 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed (option to cut in half lengthwise)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 black pepper
1/2 garlic powder


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
2. Chop garlic 
3. Mix all the olive oil, garlic and spices
4. Toss Brussels sprouts with all the ingredients
5. Place on a baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice until the the Brussels sprouts turn a deep golden brown, crisp on the outside. 
6. Transfer to a bowl and serve. 

Finally, after cooking all day I am ready to eat. Happy Thanksgiving to all my wonderful readers and followers. Please feel free to share your recipes and let me know if I have left anything out. 


The Hungry Nomad

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At November 23, 2012 , Blogger nathaliedelakim said...

That looks delicious! Want to try your mushroom gravy:)

At December 06, 2012 , Blogger Hungry Nomad said...

Thanks Nat. It is the easiest recipe and so delicious. Will you be going home for Christmas?


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